Mobile survival guide: 10 tips for staying connected

Here are 10 tips for weathering your worst-case scenario.

By Patrick Miller, PC World |  Networking, mobile broadband

Bring your own gear for hotel-room Wi-Fi:Hotels love to advertise their free in-room Wi-Fi. However, the mere existence of Wi-Fi doesn't guarantee that it will work at the level you need it to. If you want to ensure that your room is covered, you'll need to bring your own Wi-Fi router and insist on a room at a hotel that is wired for ethernet. Don't forget the power strip, too, or else you might have to choose between wireless Internet access and your room's lighting.

If you're leery about lugging all of that gear around, remember this: Your room's ethernet could be a 1-foot-long cable sticking out of the landline phone. You might be able to get your work done with your laptop on your bedside table, but your back will never forgive you.

Test your speed before uploading large files:If you need to send a few large files back to home base, try out a few different services before starting the upload in earnest. After all, your mobile ISP or hotel IT administrator might have blocked or throttled certain services. Another concern: What seems like the most direct file-transfer method (uploading to your company's FTP server, for example) might actually be bogged down with unnecessary intermediaries such as a VPN connection that could reduce the overall speed.

While uploading a video file from a hotel ethernet connection, I found that I got only 20 kilobits per second from our FTP server, while Dropbox bumped me up to 50 kbps and MediaFire managed 80 kbps. Even though I wasn't directly transferring the video to the home office, using MediaFire instead of our in-house FTP saved time for everyone involved.

Use protection on open Wi-Fi hotspots:The time you save by logging in to the first unencrypted Wi-Fi hotspot you encounter doesn't compare to the risk you take if someone shady sniffs your password or hijacks your Gmail session and steals all your personal info. You can reduce your risk by using utilities such as Hotspot Shield and configuring your Web apps to use HTTPS whenever possible, but you need to take those steps before you log in to the unprotected Wi-Fi spot. Read "How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi" for more security tips.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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